I have a friend who is constantly chastising me for not getting enough calcium. I’m not a milk drinker, I don’t eat yogurt, and, in general, don’t have a lot of dairy in my life. I know there are other natural sources to get calcium from but I don’t think I get enough from those sources either. So the other way is to take a supplement, which is not my favorite thing to do.
After many conversations with my friend, he brought up a good point about me having Celiac Disease and how the lack of calcium intake could hurt me. I hadn’t thought about it past the “you should take calcium because you don’t drink milk” thing so I started doing some research on calcium deficiencies in those of us with Celiac Disease.
An article from celiacdisease.about.com stated that, once you have Celiac Disease, the chances of a dairy intolerance rises. Unfortunately, I know that to be the truth as many of my friends who are Celiac are also lactose intolerant. With lactose intolerance, you get less calcium and vitamin D so your chances of brittle bones and osteoporosis increases dramatically.
Another thing that plays into this is that the longer Celiac Disease goes undiagnosed or untreated by a gluten free diet, the less our bodies absorb minerals and vitamins. This means that it will take longer for our bodies to play “catch up” on the necessary nutrients our bodies need. It also means that our bodies have a chance of breaking down and they may not ever “catch up” to where they should be nutrient wise. Damage sometimes cannot be undone.
Not surprisingly, women take in only 31% of the daily allowance they need. This was according to an article from Gluten Free Living. So, being a woman and being Celiac really raises my chances of having osteoporosis or brittle bones or clotting problems or a myriad of problems that go along with a calcium deficient Celiac. Sigh…seems like it’s always something, right? This picture lays it out pretty good:
So where do I get calcium naturally, especially if I’m not a dairy eating/drinking person or if I’m lactose intolerant. What if I HATE taking vitamins? Both articles mention sardines (ick), tofu (not a fan of soy products), some greens (collards, turnip greens, kale) or vitamin fortified orange juice (just make sure it is gluten free). Almond and soy milks are now sometimes calcium fortified as well.
I’m honestly pretty good with my vitamins. I take a spray vitamin B12 and D (yes, I said spray and it’s the best thing ever invented) and now I take calcium too. I’m sure there are other vitamins that I should be taking like zinc, etc. but it’s all about baby steps.
Now my friend can rest easy because I take my calcium. And I can rest easy that I’m trying to prevent a health catastrophe in my life.